Known and loved by many as a brilliant bilingual writer, Vladimir Nabokov has overnight turned into a genius entomologist who was thinking far ahead of his time.
The amazing discovery was made by a team of Harvard butterfly specialists, among them Dr Naomi Pierce, who was preparing the writer’s entomological notes for an exhibition.
As Dr Pierce told The New York Times, she was stunned with Nabokov’s theory of evolution for the Polyommatus blue butterflies composed by the writer in 1945.
Nabokov conjectured that the butterflies had come to the New World from Asia over the course of millions of years in a series of waves.
“It was an amazing, bold hypothesis,” the newspaper quoted Dr Pierce as saying. “And I thought, ‘Oh, my God, we could test this.’ ”
Such testing became possible only thanks to modern DNA techniques, which were unavailable during Nabokov’s lifetime.
Having performed all the experiments, Dr Pierce – to her utter surprise – found out that Nabokov’s speculations were all true to life.
"It's a fitting tribute to the great man to see that the most modern methods that technology can now largely support his systematic arrangement," James Mallet, an expert on butterfly evolution at University College London, told The New York Times.
Dr. Pierce believes Nabokov would have been greatly pleased to be so vindicated.
“He felt that his scientific work was standing for all time, and that he was just a player in a much bigger enterprise,” Dr. Pierce was quoted as saying by the paper. “He was not known as a scientist, but this certainly indicates to me that he knew what it’s all about.”
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